ICCC Interactive Session with Minister Chris Alexander
By A Correspondent
Hon. Chris Alexander, Canada’s new minister for Citizenship and Immigration emphasized that when dealing with immigration, the government understands that change is a constant. The Minister was addressing members of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce at an interactive session in Toronto.
Naval Bajaj, President, ICCC welcomed the minister and introduced him to the members of the chamber. He said that the ICCC is a 36 year old business organization with twin objectives of fostering bilateral trade between Canada and India, and creating business and professional opportunities for the Indian Diaspora in Canada.
“As a business organization with a coast-to-coast presence, we are constantly working with both the federal and other provincial governments on many issues including immigration,” Bajaj said.
He added that the ICCC is committed to promoting Canada India economic partnership with special emphasis on small and medium entrepreneurs. Bajaj assured the Minister that the ICCC would continue to play a pivotal role in fostering ties between the two countries and work with the minister. “We have had the privilege of organizing a number of interactive sessions Hon. Jason Kenny. And we will continue to do so with you,” he said.
Minister Alexander expressed confidence in ICCC’s leadership and its commitment to fostering bilateral ties between Canada and India. He underscored India’s critical importance to the Canada’s immigration program. “India is one of the largest sources of immigrants to Canada so the support of community leaders is very important,” the Minister said.
He also emphasized that small businesses are the lifeline of Canadian economy and to make it stronger; Canada needs professionals and skilled human resources in which India can play an important role. Canada is more interested in investors and entrepreneurs to invest here and create more job opportunities for the Canadians.
Hon. Minister Alexander stressed on making a professional reservoir of professionals to fulfill the future immigration needs and to expand the visa program for young investors and entrepreneurs. He didn’t rule out making changes in the immigration policy to make it more people friendly and avoid the fraudulent practices. Minister also informed that his ministry has cleared more than 21,000 pending applications last year and targeted to clear more in the current year. The Minister also wanted to strengthen the provincial nominee investors program for attracting more entrepreneurs to invest in the Canadian provinces and asked for more recommendations from the chamber for investor program for immigration.
Mr. Jagdish Bajaj, Vice President & Director ICCC, appreciated the ministry’s efforts in speeding up the process of fast track visa for students. It provided them the timely admission in their chosen courses in different Canadian universities and colleges.
Several prominent members of the Chamber and community leaders attended the interactive session. Mr. Deepak Ruparell of the Canada-India Foundation said that ministry should address the challenge of granting tourist visa as it directly effects the growing tourism industry in Canada. Government can identify some focussed groups or trusted operators for the promotion of tourism as Canada has vast areas of tourist attraction. Mr. Stephen Green from Green & Spiegel LLP, an immigration law firm, advocated sorting out issues related to investors program and identify their sources of Income in which some trusted banks can help. Mr. Vasu Chanchlani, a renowned entrepreneur, said that the role of provinces in the provincial immigration category should be increased to fulfill the needs of skilled workers. Mr. Sampat Poddar, Advisory Board Member of ICCC, said that the ministry should look into the matter of family class visa for relatives living at back home to attend the family functions in Canada.
Hon. Asha Seth, Senator, Senate of Canada and Hon. Vim Kochar, former Senator, Senate of Canada also graced the interactive session. Members of ICCC board, ICCC sponsors and media persons were also present at the session.